Rhodesian ridgeback

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troop
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Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:50 pm

Rhodesian ridgeback

Post by troop » Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:25 am

Hi my partner has visions of owning a ridgeback sometime in the future so does anybody have one of these? Any advice/ info gratefully lapped up thanks
Ps i actually want a pug hhahaa

dontpugme
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Re: Rhodesian ridgeback

Post by dontpugme » Fri Aug 05, 2011 5:41 pm

Could you give us more information about your lifestyle? It'll help us with giving advice! :D

I have a pug and I absolutely LOVE him! :)
--dontpugme

troop
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Re: Rhodesian ridgeback

Post by troop » Sat Aug 06, 2011 4:37 am

Hi right lifestyle... little bit nuts :D My OH is a mechanic owns his own business so dog would be with him for the most part. I run a pub so am at home a lot of the time i also rescue animals so have a lot of critters coming and going. I have anything from rabbits to horses chickens and cats and dogs etc ... the pug would probably be in a few years time when im bit calmer in life my health is not great so i do have dips and troughs in how much i can do sometimes but so far all my pets have adapted to this well..... exercise for the ridgeback would be mainly OH department but i will likely be in cxharge of training :) hope that helps a bit thanks x

Flyby
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Re: Rhodesian ridgeback

Post by Flyby » Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:37 am

Hi.

Just wondering if this is still an active thread?

I have a four year old Rhodesian Ridgeback, and happy to pass on my thoughts on the subject ...

There has been some controversy about the breed regarding the ridge, but most of that controversy is misguided and untrue. There are three main areas of contention.

Some claim the ridge is a mild form of Spina Bifoda, a congenital dicease of the spine, but this isn't true. Spina Bifoda is a genetic deformation which occurs in a variety of species when the vertibrae in the spine fail to form fully, and don't completely cover the spinal column. The degree of deformity varies, in severe cases the spinal cord is exposed and protrudes from the spine. In the mildest form, Spina Bifoda Occulta, the opening in the vertibrae is not large enough for any spinal cord to be exposed, and the person may never even know they have Spina Bifoda Occulta. In a study of the population of London, it was found to occur in around 10% of the human population. Sometimes, for some reason the skin covering the area may have a birthmark, or excess of hair occuring in the same place. Somebody, somewhere, has decided that this phenomenon must be the explanation why Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a ridge, but as far as I am aware, there is no actual link between the two occurances, and certainly no evidence that the ridge is manifest evidence of Spina Bifoda. I am not aware of any link between a ridgeback having a ridge and having any form of spinal deformity. A recent program made by the BBC stated the ridge was evidence of Spina Bifoda, but the Ofcom (Broadcasting Regulator) upheld a complaint that this was not true.

There was a second issue concerning Rhodesian Ridgebacks and the corelation between the ridge, and the condition Dermoid Sinus, making the implicit accusation that breeders were overlooking health defects to maintain an artificial ridge while not breeding from ridgeless dogs, which are allegedly less prone to DS. This information lacked solid foundation too. As I understand it, back in the 50's, there was a prevalence of DS in ridgebacks in the order of 40 to 50%, but this was at a time when there was no way to screen for DS before breeding. As knowledge advanced, breeders and owners did identify the problem, and through selective breeding, have now reduced the incidence of DS to 2.24% consistent over the last four years, and are also seeking to find a way to screen DS at a DNA level. Without going into more detail, this is about as responsible an approach to a problem as any breeder of animals is ever likely to take. RR Breeders compromising animal health to maintain the ridge? Absolutely not. DS also occurs in other breeds, and species, so it isn't a uniquely Ridgeback phenomenon anyway.

The third issue specific to Ridgebacks, is or was, the practice culling of ridgeless animals. Traditionally, perfectly healthy puppies were killed because they had the misfortune to be born without a ridge. In more enlightened times, few will argue that rather than be killed, ridgeless animals should not be bred from. I'm not going to defend the killing of healthy animals just because they don't fit some artificially applied criteria, but merely point out this phenomenon is in no way unique to Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Wherever people have bred animals towards a specific purpose or design, they have adopted selective breeding, repeating the bloodlines they like, and abandoning the bloodlines they don't. Every pedigree dog, cat, horse, bull, goldfish, rose-bush, wheatfield or garden pea which has gone through human selection has been isolated from mixing it genes with random partners. If you think about it, we selectively breed our sheep and prematurely castrate and cull those which happen to be born male. What has changed that we're suddenly squeamish about what happens to the strains we reject? Is the ridge a big enough reason to justify a breeding program which preserves it? It's a tough call for those dogs born ridgeless, but yes I think it is. Having a ridge is proof positive a particular bloodline, and like it or not, that is what a pedigree is all about. You want a pedigree anything, then there's always a price to pay for those who don't fit the design. Personally, I'd have a ridgeless ridgeback in a heartbeat, - but I wouldn't breed from it.

Now I am biased naturally, because I own a Rhodesian Ridgeback, but I try not to be. I firmly believe that some pedigree animals have indeed bred health problems and defects which now plague the lives of many animals. Such trends should be stopped and reversed, and I passionately believe that's true. I just don't agree the Rhodesian Ridgeback is one such breed at risk. In owning a ridgeback, and doing what I cant to promote the breed, my conscience is absolutely 100% clear.

Enough about the unpleasant stuff...

Why did I get a ridgeback?

Well, I bought a yard for my business premises. I didn't want a guard dog, but I did want a bigger dog which people might think was a guard dog. I also wanted that dog to be a puppy, because I work with hammers clashing, grinders whirring, and compressors venting air. It's not exactly unpleasant, but there are things which might scare the unwary. I reasoned a puppy exposed to such things from an early age would forever find them commonplace, and be at ease and perfectly happy to be there from the outset. So, because I knew I wanted a puppy, I had to know how that puppy would turn out, so that meant I chose a pedigree breed, rather than take the chance on a cross bred pup of variable potential size and temperament. I also liked the idea of having a bigger dog with some brains, and already at this stage in the selection process, Rhodesian Ridgebacks where coming high up on my shortlist.

Always a 'doggy' person, I'd never had a 'large' dog before Odin, and I was a bit nervous. If a big dog becomes a problem dog, it's a big problem dog which will bite kids and policemen. At this point a nearly veered away from RR's, because I heard they were difficult to train, head strong, and prone to aggression, or conversely timidity. People assume they are fierce because they were bred to fight lions!!

Then I learned of an actual ridgeback owned by a friend, and met up for a look see.

Ridgebacks are very impressive dogs. His ridgeback was a *****, (Ha ha Ha - a female dog) and just beautiful. I sat down and discussed with my friend all the good things and bad things I'd read and heard, and got his take on things as a ridgeback owner.

Yes, it's true, RR's can be aggressive, and can be very timid, but very often this is caused by innapropriate training. You cannot bludgeon a ridgeback into doing things, because he is too intelligent. The use of sticks, or beatings will invariably ruin the dog, leaving it fierce and aggressive, or else scared of it's own shadow. Be creative and positve in your training, and your ridgeback will become the best friend you've ever had. No sticks, no skelps, but logic and reasoning.

They also weren't bred for killing lions. To fight a lion, you'd need a big, brave, stupid dog, - and a new dog after every hunt to replace the last one. To hold a lion at bay however, you need a brave dog which is also fast, alert, and intelligent enough avoid being killed by one of the worlds foremost predators. Ridgebacks are not fighting dogs, they are clever dogs which you can train and channel to be aggressive, but are equally adept at avoiding trouble and getting out of the way.

With plenty exercise, (the more the better), and enough mental stimulation, my Ridgeback has raised my enjoyment of owning a dog tenfold. Taking that risk and buying a big dog has really worked out for me, but you need to plan ahead and read up all you can. A clever dog can get frustrated and be frustrating, but if you lose the rag with a ridgeback, it will take it to heart. Be patient.

troop
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Re: Rhodesian ridgeback

Post by troop » Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:12 am

Thank you for this reply its very informative :D .We dont yet have one but its still a breed we would like in the future. A lady down the road has a huge boy called Scoob and he is stunning and very sweet natured.

Ari_RR
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Re: Rhodesian ridgeback

Post by Ari_RR » Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:49 am

Our ridgeback Ari just turned 12 months. We tried very hard to socialize him with people and other dogs since he was just 3-4 months, and it paid off. He is very sweet, although still a bit protective of what he thinks is his domain… which includes the house he lives in, of course, as well as all other houses in the neighborhood :-)

Ridgebacks have been bred to be independent thinkers, and to be able to make decisions on their own while hunting, without wasting precious moments checking with their handlers. So, unlike Labradors or Golden Retrievers, they often think before deciding whether a command makes sense and should be followed, or not :-)
Last edited by Ari_RR on Sat Oct 01, 2011 11:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Ari, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Sept 2010 - Dec 2018.
Miles, Rhodesian Ridgeback, b. Nov 2018

Flyby
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Re: Rhodesian ridgeback

Post by Flyby » Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:34 pm

Odin is my first RR, and before I'd got him, I had heard Ridgebacks were intelligent, but I thought, yeah, intelligent - for a hound, but still not too bright in real terms. But my Odin is 4, and I'm kicking myself for coming so late to this positive re-inforcement training sooner. He is very clever, and so quick to pick things up.

Socialisation is an absolute must, because it makes everything more fun. These are big dogs, and you have to respect what they are capable of in the 'worst case scenario'. I'm not into owners clubs especially, but when Odin was about 2, I asked one of the local owners clubs if they'd mind me tagging along with one of their walks. They said I was very welcome, and we all met up. I didn't actually count them, but there must have been 15 to 20 ridgebacks of all ages, only a few having met before, all walking together and off the lead most of the time. Throughout that day there wasn't one single fight between any of them.

That alone gave me so much confidence that this is a good breed of dog, and I really, really like them.

abbyneo
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Re: Rhodesian ridgeback

Post by abbyneo » Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:14 pm

We just got a Ridgeback also...Neo is 12 weeks old and she is awesome! My fiancee had wanted to get one for quite awhile, since he is an avid long-distance runner, and I actually introduced him to the breed after reading about their running and endurance abilities. We obviously haven't tested these abilities yet because she's still a baby, but we'll see!

Neo is so smart and stubborn! I agree with what Flyby said..sometimes too smart! :) Neo has been with us for 2 weeks now and we're still working out the kinks, if you will. She seems to love destroying things, so we always have a cardboard box on hand for her to tear up. She gets along great with our adult Boxer, and she's still learning how to be friends with our 5 month old kitten :) She's also very cuddly and always wants to snuggle next to us when she gets sleepy.

Have fun with your pup!!!!

Flyby
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Re: Rhodesian ridgeback

Post by Flyby » Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:29 am

That's funny Abbyneo, remember I mentioned another RR called Zeus? Well, he runs with his owner around five miles a day, and if his owner can't be bothered running, he goes on a bicycle. Zeus loves it of course. The only advice I'd give is to give Neo time for her bones to grow and harden off.

I was lucky my Odin wasn't destructive. In fact, after a year, he still had all his toys, and all of those which did squeak still squeaked a year later. When Pippen, my Border Terrier came on the scene, as a pup he shredded anything you put in front of him. I hope that's a sign Neo is going to play with toys. Odin just isn't interesed in toys, and not greatly motivated by treats. We're getting there now, but for a while it was tricky to keep him interested in training. I know Elsa, the other RR I knew, absolutely adored her frisbee.

Ari_RR
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Re: Rhodesian ridgeback

Post by Ari_RR » Sun Oct 02, 2011 6:17 am

Ari destroys all his toys. Even the ones that were advertised as "indestructible" :D
So, we have to keep checking, especially with stuffed toys and toys with squeakers. When a toy is getting close to give in and be ripped apart, we have to take it away, otherwise we'll have a squeaky ridgeback :lol:

We make our own toys these days, of strong rope which we buy at a hardware store - they seem to last a bit longer then what we can find in pet supply places.
Ari, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Sept 2010 - Dec 2018.
Miles, Rhodesian Ridgeback, b. Nov 2018

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